Panagiotis Papadopoulos, the Mayor of Platres and President of the Troodos Network, recently spoke on SPOR FM's DIAPORA NEWS show to discuss the development of university units in Troodos, the region's economic and touristic enhancement, job opportunities, and this year's tourism trends.
Papadopoulos shared that the university initiative involves collaboration with five universities abroad, aiming to transform life in Troodos areas by establishing one school with 100 students. This project envisions students living, studying, and engaging with the surrounding communities.
The Platres Mayor, through the country's representation in the European Parliament, emphasized efforts towards setting up a university focusing on countryside studies and professions. He revealed that student fees would be approximately 6,500 euros, making it a more cost-effective option compared to other European countries.
Discussing student accommodation, Papadopoulos stated that discussions have taken place with communities in Moniatis, Kato Platres, Pedoulas, Galata, and Kyperounta. Seasonally used houses will be offered for rent, generating additional income for homeowners to upgrade their properties, leading to an improved quality of life in each community.
Additionally, an investor aims to purchase hotels in the area and upgrade them to serve as university student residences.
The proposed schools in the region include:
1. Hospitality and Tourism in Platres
2. Agriculture and Technology in Galata
3. Business - Economy with a specialization in agribusiness in Pedoulas
4. Humanities and Mediterranean Studies in Kyperounda
5. An agreement for a school on technology and artificial intelligence in Pedoulas is expected to be finalized.
Papadopoulos also mentioned that they have approached the Ministry of Education to gain access to closed Troodos schools for renovation, with a budget of 1.5 million euros. Some interested parties have also expressed willingness to contribute sponsorships to the project, pending the university's commencement.
In terms of tourism, the Mayor foresees 200 job openings next year, followed by another 200 in the subsequent year. To meet staffing needs, students will be a valuable asset, as they can work on weekends, given the seasonality of tourism-related activities.
Regarding tourist footfall, Papadopoulos acknowledged a steady influx of visitors; however, there have been setbacks due to the Ukrainian war and global shortages. Despite these challenges, the Mayor remains optimistic about Troodos' potential to thrive as a vibrant tourist destination in the future.